FLVS Teacher Receives Yale Educator Award

Florida Virtual School is proud to announce that one of our teachers, Samantha Rimes, was honored as a recipient of the 2020 Yale Educator Award. This award, sponsored by the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions, recognizes educators from around the world who inspire and support their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence.

Students entering the Yale Class of 2024 were asked to nominate an outstanding educator who has deeply impacted their lives. Samantha Rimes was nominated for the award by Kenan Collignon, a student she taught while at Tavares High School. Of this year’s 317 nominees, representing 41 U.S. states and 19 countries, Samantha was one of 57 teachers selected to receive this prestigious award.

The Yale Committee said in reviewing nominations, “We were constantly reminded of the unique and critical role that exceptional educators play in shaping their students’ futures by encouraging them to pursue their goals.”

Samantha shared a memory of Kenan, the student who nominated her for the Yale Educator Award.

“During a Psychology course, we were studying memory and tricks to recall information quickly and easily. Another student in the class spouted off three words and challenged me to remember them. Two years later at graduation I saw those three words staring back at me in a thank you letter I received from Kenan. I am a true believer in the power of your actions. Those three small words, although insignificant in the grand scheme of things, demonstrate the power of a lasting memory. If someone can remember three unrelated words that do not provide any reward in the future, imagine what content they can remember when you make meaningful connections with them.”

FLVS was honored to hire Samantha, a Lake County resident, to teach 7th grade Science at FLVS Full Time Middle School.

“Building strong relationships with my students is my number one priority,” said Samantha. “What I love about teaching for FLVS is the one-on-one time that I am able to have with each student. This time gives me the chance to build the foundation of a strong relationship as early in the year as possible. My number one priority is for my students to feel safe when they are with me. If they are not comfortable, then they will not be able to focus.”

Samantha and her husband, a firefighter paramedic, have three children, ages ranging from 4 to 12.

“Our lives revolve around each other,” she said.

In her spare time, they like to go mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and enjoy outings at Disney.

Congratulations on this great achievement, Samantha. FLVS is so proud of you!


Suzan KurdakSuzan Kurdak is a published author, blogger, and communication specialist who joined FLVS in 2011. She is passionate about boosting and encouraging others to live life to their fullest potential.



3 comments on “FLVS Teacher Receives Yale Educator Award

  1. Brandy Arellano

    To who it may concern: my daughter is in FLVS 2nd grade dirt year. Extremely hard for us both! However thank goodness for Brandy’s teacher Ms.Insula she’s so incredibly patient and extremely willing to assist you in any way she can!! She is definitely a A team member on the Lee county school board system! Thank you

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